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Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, OBE, (born 9 January 1956) is an Oscar-nominated Anglo-Irish actress best known for her performances in the Britishmarker comedy television series Up the Garden Path and the films Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Vera Drake. For the latter, she drew widespread critical acclaim as Vera Drake, earning her a Best Actress Oscar nomination and a number of wins including the BAFTA and Venice Film Festival Awards for best actress in a leading role.

Early life

Staunton was born in Archwaymarker, North Londonmarker, the daughter of Bridie (née McNicholas), a hairdresser, and Joseph Staunton, a road-worker and labourer. Both of her parents are first-generation Catholic immigrants from County Mayo, Irelandmarker, with her father coming from Ballyvary and her mother from Boholamarker. She attended La Sainte Union Convent Schoolmarker, an all-girls Catholic school on the edge of Hampstead Heath, from years 7 to 11. She then went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


Career

Theatre

Staunton trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, then spent six years in English repertory, including a period at the Northcott Theatremarker, Exetermarker where she had the title role in Shaw's Saint Joan (1979), before moving back to London. Staunton has stated that her first job was a play by Goldoni. She is also known for her performance as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She has twice received an Olivier Award, Britain's highest theatre honour, for roles in two 1985 productions: A Chorus of Disapproval and The Corn Is Green and for the 1991 Into the Woods. She was nominated for her performance as Miss Adelaide in the 1996 revival of Guys and Dolls at the National Theatremarker.

More recently, she appeared in the premiere of Frank McGuinness's There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Almeida in 2007 and opened in 2009 in Entertaining Mr Sloane alongside Mathew Horne at the Trafalgar Studiosmarker.

Film

One of her first films was an appearance in the 1992 movie Peter's Friends. Other early roles include performances in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Deadly Advice (1993), Sense and Sensibility (1995) Twelfth Night (1996), Chicken Run (2000), Another Life (2001), Bright Young Things (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005) and Freedom Writers (2007).

Staunton shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance by a Cast in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love. In 2004, she received the Best Actress honours at the European Film Awards, the BAFTAs, and the Venice Film Festival for her performance of the title role in Mike Leigh's Vera Drake, which also won Best Picture. For the same role, she received Best Actress nominations for the 2005 Golden Globes and Academy Award.

Staunton portrayed Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), a performance described as "coming close to stealing the show." She was nominated in the "British Actress in a Supporting Role" category at the London Film Critics Circle Awards. On July 13 2009, Producer David Heyman confirmed Staunton will reprise her role as Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Her most recent film role is her scene stealing character of Sonia Teichberg in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock (2009).

Other work

In 1993 she appeared on television alongside Richard Briers and Adrian Edmondson in If You See God, Tell Him. She has had other television parts in The Singing Detective (1986), Midsomer Murders, and the comedy drama series Is it Legal? (1995-8). She was a voice artist on Mole's Christmas (1994). She had a guest role playing Mrs. Mead in Little Britain in 2005, and in 2007 played the free-thinking gossip, Miss Pole, in Cranford, the five-part BBC series based on Mrs Gaskell's novels.

On radio, she has appeared in the title role of detective drama series Julie Enfield Investigates, as the lead, Izzy Comyn, in the comedy Up the Garden Path (which later moved to ITV with Staunton reprising the role), in Diary of a Provincial Lady (from 1999) and Acropolis Now.

She also supplies the voices of Ruby (a mouse) and Twiba (The Worm who lives in Big's Apple) in the Children's TV show "Big and Small"

Personal life

Staunton is married to the English actor Jim Carter and they have a daughter, Bessie, born 1993. She is also long time friends with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and best friends with Emma Thompson, her neighbour.

She was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for her services to drama.

Theatre work

Repertory theatre: Two seasons at the Northcott Theatremarker Exetermarker: Two seasons at the Nottingham Playhousemarker (1980-81?): Touring (1981-82?): Theatre roles in London::

Filmography



References

  1. Irish News UK - News from the Irish Community in Britain
  2. The prime of Miss Imelda Staunton
  3. Olivier Awards winners
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjveEv5Y9JU


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